This year I have dug up a few other spots at the rectory for gardens as well. Each time I remove some sod and create a garden spot I begin wondering how much area I have created for gardens through the years! At each parish I have been assigned, I have planted flower gardens. In all, I have planted flower gardens now at thirteen church locations throughout the diocese. I truly enjoy the work and the signs of life and growth and beauty that the flowers provide. I shared with you last year a reflection I wrote, The Garden of God’s People. As I look upon my gardens and the many people I have met in my first year here I would like to share with you the reflection again. Its meaning deepens for me each year as I grow in the midst of God’s People.
In a garden the signs of life are all around us! Each season brings with it new signs of life as different varieties of flowers appear and share their bloom. Being a gardener I always get the itch to get out in the yard and see what flowers are budding forth. Spring first brings forth an array of color and beauty from the bulb plants as the crocus, hyacinths, daffodils and tulips break through the soil from their winter resting place. Next some of the early perennials break into bloom; the leopard’s bane, ground phlox, rock crest, and primroses. Then one by one the flowers of different plants appear. Each month seems to bring on different varieties. The garden brings forth in June the lupines, columbine, foxgloves, and poppies, in July the lilies, daisies, coreopsis, coneflowers, and black-eyed-susans begin to flourish, in August the roses and dahlias. In September the chrysanthemums, and perennial asters take their turn in the sun. Some flowers bloom throughout the summer, others for only a short time, but each with its own beauty.
As beautiful as perennial flowers are, a garden is incomplete without the annual flowers that are planted each year. The marigolds, petunias, geraniums, the zinnias, salvia, cleome, cosmos, sweet alyssum, and an array of other annuals accent the perennials and provide a constant bloom in the garden. These plants are only with us for a season yet the unique beauty of each variety enhances the splendor of the garden as a whole.
When I look upon a garden, it reminds me of the beauty of God’s church. Like the many varieties of flowers in a garden our parishes are comprised of many different people, each with a unique beauty of their own. Some share the splendor of life with us for only a short time before God calls them home or they are called to another community because of their work. Others seem to bloom year after year, the gift of their lives spanning many generations, with their off-shoots filling up the pews besides them. Some share their beauty with us in their early years, then they are transplanted to other parishes to share their beauty as they enter adulthood. Other members come and go annually, sharing spring, summer and autumn with us, and then moving to warmer climates to share their lives with others. Still others visit us on occasion and are more like a bouquet than a planted flower, but the gift of their beauty and presence is still deeply appreciated. Like flowers the people of the church come in different shapes and sizes, and different colors and hues. As a garden is incomplete without the variety of beauty that reflects God’s creation, so too the church is incomplete without the variety of people who together reflect the presence of the God who has made us all. May we always cherish each flower we see and each person we meet.
God bless you,